When photographing outside, the amount of light available at different times of day can have an impact on the overall aesthetic of our shots, especially if we’re simply using natural light. Among other things, the colours fluctuate, the light direction shifts, and the contrast between highlights and shadows varies. All of these variables have an impact on our light source as well as our background. “When is the best time to snap shots outside?” becomes the next inquiry.That is debatable. While some photographers prefer to avoid shooting in direct sunlight, others make the most of it by using basic light modifiers (such as a 5-in-1 reflector), open shade, or off-camera flash. Others, on the other hand, will only shoot during golden hour, which we’ll discuss further down. True, we can find ways to take amazing images at any moment, but photographers prefer to shoot outside at specific times. Whether you choose to shoot portraits, landscapes, or anything in between, knowing when to shoot is just as crucial as knowing where to shoot.
1. Golden Hour:
Let’s begin with the gold standard in natural light outdoor photography. Golden hour sky have a gorgeous, warm tint, and they only show twice a day for a short period of time. Golden hour occurs shortly after dawn and shortly before dusk. Many people believe golden hour to be the finest time to shoot photos outside because of the beautiful light and enticing backdrop it provides. Golden hour light, for example, gives the complexion a warm shine in photographs, which most clients adore. The soft warm light of golden hour will add a touch of beauty to your photographs, no matter what style of shots you like to take.
So, what exactly do you need to know?
You don’t have much time for golden hour photography. As the sun rises and sets, the weather changes rapidly. If you’re taking portraits, make a strategy ahead of time to make the most of your brief window of opportunity. Otherwise, you risk squandering your opportunity and losing the sun. Because golden hour varies depending on the season, it’s helpful to organise your shoots with specialised applications like Sun Surveyor.
It’s not the end of the world if you don’t capture the sun in time or if it doesn’t emerge from behind a cloud cover. If you have access to off-camera flash equipment, you can recreate golden hour even if the sun isn’t shining.
2. Twilight or “Blue Hour”:
Twilight, often known as “blue hour,” evokes a sense of mystery and magic. Blue hour, which happens just before or after golden hour, has an entirely distinct appearance. The blue hour is named by the blueness of the light, as you may have imagined. It is unquestionably one of the most photogenic moments of the day.
Twilight lends a sense of calm and tranquillity to photographs. Unlike golden hour, when there are a lot of people around, blue hour has a lot less people, which is perfect for landscape photography. Get imaginative and attempt unusual tactics like shutter drag (long exposure), as shown in the image above, if it’s busy where you are. Artificial lights in urban areas like these have a golden hue to them, which contrasts nicely with the blue sky. Because there is less light available at night, you should familiarise yourself with night-time photography settings on your camera ahead of time.
3. Overcast Days:
It isn’t always going to be beautiful sunsets and sunny days. Many of us, in fact, are much more accustomed to the gloomy overcast sky. Under overcast skies, you can re-create golden hour with off-camera flash, or you can take advantage of the cloudy conditions.
On a cloudy day, when is the best time to take photos outside?
The light on an overcast day will be very steady throughout the day. In most cases, the sun will not be visible in the sky. You may probably understand why overcast days rank as the ideal time to capture shots outside if you’re familiar with using soft boxes or umbrellas in photography. The clouds create a smooth, flat light by acting as a large diffuser, reducing harsh lighting and shadows. Although flat lighting is not dynamic, it can be attractive in portraiture. To optimise the soft, flattering light, simply position your subject so that he or she is facing up toward the sky.
4. After Dark:
While shooting at night, you might be amazed at how many options you have. You’ll need to prepare because shooting at night is an entirely different beast than shooting during the day. Before you begin, familiarise yourself with your camera (as well as the off-camera light, which can be useful). The night sky allows photographers to capture the globe in a light that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye, drastically transforming the appearance of a location. While it may appear scary at first, don’t dismiss night shoots before giving them a fair chance.
I recommend studying up in advance if you don’t have access to flash equipment or simply as a creative decision. Here are some simple tips for capturing the night sky that we’ve compiled. If you wish to picture certain aspects like the Milky Way Galaxy, I also recommend checking out useful apps (like the Sun Surveyor app I mentioned before).
I hope you found my post about determining the optimum time to take photos outside helpful. As you can see, the benefits of different times of day vary based on the aesthetic you want to achieve and your particular tastes. It’s vital to remember that, just like the place, various light and weather will produce diverse looks and outcomes. To develop your portfolio, take use of the benefits of each time of day and push yourself to new heights. Remember that photography should be enjoyable and all about experimenting with new concepts. If you give it a try, you could find that you enjoy shooting at night!
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